In “Cathedral,” the lives of a married couple are disrupted when the wife’s blind friend, Robert, comes to visit. While the husband, who is the story’s narrator, initially believes that having Robert in the house will be inconvenient and unsettling, he comes to realize that blindness is not simply a deficit—Robert’s fine-tuned perception adds to the narrator’s own appreciation of the world.
Initially, the narrator imagines that Robert will be strange and…read analysis of Vision
Empathy and Listening
While the narrator is able to see the physical world, he struggles in his relationship with his wife. Robert, on the other hand, is blind, but he seems to be quite attuned to the emotional lives of others because he is an empathetic listener. Carver, therefore, configures empathy via listening as a mode of perception that is perhaps more intimate than sight.
The narrator seems to have a difficult relationship with his…read analysis of Empathy and Listening
The Secular and the Sacred
The tension between the secular and the sacred is an animating force of Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral,” the very premise of which—a blind man healing a man who can see—inverts a popular Bible story in which Jesus heals a blind man. Carver’s story often explicitly and implicitly references religion, which is how many people find meaning in their lives, but Carver argues that a person does not need religion to find meaning—spirituality can be secular, and…read analysis of The Secular and the Sacred